Designing effective messages requires planning and developing strategies to better achieve desired results. Communication design is the intrapersonal process of planning for and creating meaningful messages.
Eight Steps of Communication Design
Map out message goals
Evaluate your audience
Shape message content
Generate source credibility
Eliminate design flaws
Map out message goals. Ask yourself these questions.
- What is my goal? (inform, persuade, call to action, to connect)
- Is the goal feasible?
- What is my intention?
- What response do I want?
Evaluate your audience.
- Who is my audience?
- Does the size of the audience matter?
- What is the type of audience?
- What do I need to know about my audience?
- What’s known and what’s new
- What is the audience benefit?
Shape message content.
- What is the main idea?
- What is your theme?
- Framing your content.
Select channels. Choose the best channel for your audience.
- Acquire resources.
- Generate source credibility
- Eliminate design flaws
- Send message
The Art of Expression
Some people think that to become an excellent public speaker, you must have a golden voice, rich, and resonant, that enthrals listeners. This is not true. It is nice to have a rich, resonant voice, but other characteristics of the human voice are of greater importance for effective communication: your voice should have proper volume; it should be clear and understandable; and it should be expressive.
Volume.The larger the room, the louder you have to speak. You should learn to project your voice a bit beyond the normal range. If a speech requires a microphone, go to the meeting site and test it, adjusting it to your height.
Clarity.Articulation is the act of producing vocal sounds. We need to enunciate our words crisply and precisely to make sure that everything we say is intelligible. If you tend to slur words you can improve your speech by reading poems or essays aloud 15minutes a day for three weeks. Say the words with exaggerated emphasis, and move your mouth and tongue vigorously.
Pronunciation is the correct way of speaking a word. Many words we speak are mispronounced. Make an effort to speak words correctly.
Pitch.The highness of lowness of a sound.
Intonation is the use of changing pitch to convey meaning. You can lower or raise your voice for dramatic effect.
Rate of Speaking. The ideal speed for giving a speech is like the ideal speed for driving a car- it all depends on conditions. Driving a car at 110km is ok on the highway but way too fast for a school zone! Similarly, a rapid rate of speaking is appropriate in certain conditions- if, for example, you are describing a thrilling high speed police chase- but a slow pace is preferred if you are introducing a technical, hard to understand concept.
One should try to achieve a moderate speech rate when communicating.
Blocks to Communication
BARRIERS TO COMMUNICATION
- Physical barriers
Physical barriers include:
- marked out territories,
- closed doors,
- barrier screens,
- separate areas for people of different status
- large working areas or working in one unit that is physically separate from others.
- Perceptual barriers
The problem with communicating with others is that we all see the world differently. If we didn’t, we would have no need to communicate: something like extrasensory perception would take its place.
- Emotional barriers
One of the chief barriers to open and free communications is the emotional barrier. It is comprised mainly of fear, mistrust and suspicion. The roots of our emotional mistrust of others lie in our childhood and infancy when we were taught to be careful what we said to others.
“Mind your P’s and Q’s”; “Don’t speak until you’re spoken to”; “Children should be seen and not heard”. As a result many people hold back from communicating their thoughts and feelings to others. They feel vulnerable. While some caution may be wise in certain relationships, excessive fear of what others might think of us can stunt our development as effective communicators and our ability to form meaningful relationships.
- Cultural barriers
When we join a group and wish to remain in it, sooner or later we need to adopt the behaviour patterns of the group. These are the behaviours that the group accepts as signs of belonging. The group rewards such behaviour through acts of recognition, approval and inclusion. In groups which are happy to accept you, and where you are happy to conform, there is a mutuality of interest and a high level of win-win contact.
Language that describes what we want to say in our terms may present barriers to others who are not familiar with our expressions, buzz-words and jargon. When we couch our communication in such language, it is a way of excluding others. In a global market place the greatest compliment we can pay another person is to talk in their language.
- Gender barriers
There are distinct differences between the speech patterns in a man and those in a woman. A woman speaks between 22,000 and 25,000 words a day whereas a man speaks between 7,000 and 10,000. In childhood, girls speak earlier than boys and at the age of three, have a vocabulary twice that of boys. The reason for this lies in the wiring of a man’s and woman’s brains. When a man talks, his speech is located in the left side of the brain but in no specific area. When a woman talks, the speech is located in both hemispheres and in two specific locations. This means that a man talks in a linear, logical and compartmentalized way, features of left-brain thinking; whereas a woman talks more freely mixing logic and emotion, features of both sides of the brain. It also explains why women talk for much longer than men each day.
7 Interpersonal barriers
There are six levels at which people can distance themselves from one another:
- Withdrawal is an absence of interpersonal contact. It is both refusal to be in touch and time alone.
- Rituals are meaningless, repetitive routines devoid of real contact.
- Pastimes fill up time with others in social but superficial activities.
- Working activities are those tasks which follow the rules and procedures of contact but no more.
- Games are subtle, manipulative interactions which are about winning and losing. They include “rackets” and “stamps”.
Closeness is the aim of interpersonal contact where there is a high level of honesty and acceptance of yourself and others. Working on improving your communications is a broad-brush activity. You have to change your thoughts, your feelings, and your physical connections. That way, you can break down the barriers that get in your way and start building relationships that really work.
OTHER COMMON BARRIERS TO EFFECTIVE COMMUNICATION INCLUDE:
Psychological factors such as people’s state of mind. We all tend to feel happier and more receptive to information when the sun shines. Equally, if someone has personal problems like worries about their health or marriage, then this will probably affect them.
|Different languages and cultures represent a national barrier which is particularly important for organisations involved in overseas business.|
| Individual linguistic ability is also important. The use of difficult or inappropriate words in communication can prevent people from understanding the message.
Poorly explained or misunderstood messages can also result in confusion. We can all think of situations where we have listened to something explained which we just could not grasp.
|Physiological barriers may result from individuals’ personal discomfort, caused, for example, by ill health, poor eye sight or hearing difficulties.|
|Presentation of information is also important to aid understanding.|